Cilantro Lime Shrimp is quick and easy to prepare and cooked on the grill. Shrimp is dipped in a quick marinade of citrus, cilantro, lime, and jalapeños while the grill is heating up, and then grilled hot and fast in just a few minutes.
This flavorful shrimp recipe comes together from start to finish in less than 30 minutes!
When buying shrimp, save yourself some trouble and buy them already cleaned and deveined. This means the intestines are removed and the outer shells are also removed.
They also come in various sizes identified by numbers like 16/20. Those numbers represent how many shrimp per pound you can expect to have (in this case 16 to 20 shrimp per pound). The smaller the number, the larger the shrimp.
When making our grilled cilantro lime shrimp recipe, we default to 16/20 (or larger) because the size is perfect for skewers. Any smaller and they can easily overcook.
Coating the Shrimp with Marinade
Remove Shells – If the shells are still on, remove them. Grip the shrimp by the tail to keep the tail on and slowly remove the shell. This is best to do so the marinade soaks the shrimp without the shell on.
Remove Intestines – If they aren’t already removed, it’s best to make a small cut along the back of the shrimp to see the intestines. Then slowly pull them out.
Now it’s time for the quick marinade in the time it takes for the grill to heat up.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Marinade Ingredients
Mix up ingredients to get the most flavor from your cilantro lime shrimp marinade.
- Heat – We’re using jalapeños to add some heat and a vegetal flavor.
- Citrus – The juice of the lime is enough to get that acidic kick. We’re also adding the zest of a lime as well.
- Aromatics – Shallots, garlic, and cilantro add a lovely fragrance.
- Seasoning – We add our seafood seasoning into the marinade versus sprinkling directly on the shrimp.
- Olive Oil – this helps bind all the ingredients together.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Marinade
Combine all the marinade ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together until the cilantro lime marinade is like a paste. Place the cleaned shrimp into the bowl and then combine the shrimp and marinade.
While the grill is warming up, marinate the shrimp for 15 minutes in the cilantro lime marinade and then skewer the shrimp.
Chefs Note on Skewers – If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak the skewers for at least 15 minutes (do this while the grill is heating up and the shrimp are marinating). This will help prevent them from combusting over the direct heat. And if you use this recipe for really large shrimp or prawns, consider two wooden skewers for the shrimp. It keeps it more stable for really big pieces versus just one.
Grilling Cilantro Lime Shrimp
Set up the grill for direct grilling, targeting 400 degrees F in the cooking chamber. This means it will be closer to 500 degrees over direct heat.
Place the cilantro lime shrimp skewers over direct heat, close lid, and grill for 4 – 5 minutes or until you see sear marks. Flip the shrimp and continue grilling over direct heat for an additional 3 – 4 minutes until the internal temperature of the shrimp is between 135 and 140 degrees F using a good instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks MK4 Thermapen, or the color turns from an opaque look to a pink color.
Don’t walk away from the shrimp. They cook fast and go from cooked to rubbery and overcooked very quickly. Remove from the grill, and then serve warm. We add a dipping sauce for a little more flavor.
Avocado Crema is a great sauce complementing cilantro lime shrimp. We use similar flavors to the marinade (cilantro, lime, garlic) then add in some avocado and Greek Yogurt (or sour cream) for a nice creamy dipping sauce. This is completely optional as the shrimp have good flavor on their own.
We combine the ingredients together in a bowl and crush the avocado with a fork so it’s not chunky. This can be made up to three days in advance.
Wine Pairing for Cilantro Lime Shrimp
For a wine pairing for Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp I gravitate towards zesty wines with flavors of citrus and bright acidity. Sauvignon Blanc is a great match for this dish, as are dry Rieslings. Albariño and Pinot Gris (Grigio) are also tasty match for shrimp, especially with this citrusy marinade.
Other Easy Shrimp Recipes
- Grilled Shrimp with Garlic Wine Butter Sauce
- Shrimp Cocktail on the Grill with Sriracha Cocktail Sauce
- Prosecco and Spicy Shrimp
- Shrimp Tacos with Lime Crema
Grilled Seafood Recipes
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Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe
- 1 pound 16/20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Marinade
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons diced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon diced jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed About ½ of a jalapeño.
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon diced shallots About ½ of a small shallot.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
Avocado Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup whole milk Greek yogurt Alternatively you can use sour cream if you don't like the zesty flavor of Greek yogurt.
- ½ ripe avocado
- 1 tabelspoons diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon diced cilantro
- 1 clove diced garlic
- ½ lime juiced
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Avocado Dipping Sauce
- Combine all dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a fork and crush the avocado so it's a creamy mixture. Can be made up to three days in advance.
Cilantro Lime Shrimp
- Preheat the grill and set up for direct grilling targeting 400 – 450 degrees in the cooking chamber. While grill warms up, marinate the shrimp and soak wooden skewers in water.
- In a large bowl combine the marinade ingredients and stir to incorporate. Add the shrimp and stir. Marinate for 15 – 20 minutes. Occasionally stirring the shrimp.
- Place shrimp on the skewer. We use smaller skewers with four shrimp to a skewer. Place shrimp on the grill over direct heat. Grill for 4 – 5 minutes on one side or until you see nice grill marks. Flip the shrimp and continue grilling until they look pink or they read at least 135 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. About 3 – 4 additional minutes.
- Remove and serve with the dipping sauce.